Nov 6, 2016

Potts Point and La Esmeralda.

Potts Point is one of those parts of Sydney best experienced on foot and if the weather happens to be sunny with just enough warmth and zero humidity?   Even better.

There's shade and light both literally from the graceful trees that arch over the roads but also similar tonal contrasts in the architecture, the people and the businesses that call the area home.

I saw a farmer's produce market take up residence in the town square as I looked to my right.

While I pass a bakery full of bagels, old school slices and more progressive raw and vegan treats to my left.

It's just a Potts Point thing, I reckon, to always have a few cheeky bottles of something tucked away somewhere in the front window display - no matter what else you may be selling.

Nestled in between places like this bakery are laid back cool kind of eateries whose decor ranges from grunge to 'so chic it must hurt to look like that'.

Boutiques that sell curated ranges of French made men's shoes share the street with quirky gift stores.

I might pop back for those Christmas bon bons, actually.

As you know, I'm a big fan of the front doors and steps of older apartment blocks.  The more art deco the better.

Jacaranda and naval vessels all the one view... part of the unique charm of Potts Point.

And then there's that surreal walk down from Macleay Street as it becomes Wylde Street before depositing you right in front of Fleet Base East which is one of the two major bases of the Royal Australian Navy.  I've only previously seen naval vessels in the newspaper or on television.  I'd never previously appreciated their size or slightly ominous appearance until I walked along a footpath looking up at them casually lined up on the water at the base.

Preschooler SSG and I were in the area for our guided tour of La Esmerelda, the Chilean Naval Training Ship.

La Esmeralda has docked in Sydney for four days and tours are booked for groups of 25 at a time.  We were there with friends who told me that there's a really big Chilean community in Sydney and the reception of the ship has been massive.  All the tours are booked out and many visitors were Spanish speaking.

La Esmeralda was ordered in 1946 and delivered to Chile in 1954.  There crew number 311 and this year is the 61st training course the ship has been on.  Ports visited include Hawaii, Tokyo, Shanghai and Bali.  La Esmeralda's next port of call will be Auckland.  

Security was tight and every visitor had to have their ID checked and recorded before entering the front gate of the naval base.  I took this photo from just inside the entrance.  It was quite a sight seeing those four masts and the design of the boat was a sharp contrast to the slightly ominous looking Australian naval ships that surrounded and towered over it.

Preschooler SSG wasted no time in finding both the ship's steering wheel and its brass bell.

Saturday was the perfect day to  be on deck and exploring.

There's something about being out on the water.

We were on the deck of a naval vessel and I could see more in the distance but it felt like I was simply hanging out, catching some rays on a friend's particularly large boat.  All around me were voices speaking in Spanish which is a language that when spoken always sounds so rich, comforting and vibrantly full of fun to me.

Preschooler SSG was fearless as he climbed, peered and tried to get as close to sea as he could.

It really was like one giant and virtually indestructible playground for Preschooler SSG and his bestie.

Dinner was cooking in the galley as our tour ended.

It is just me or is this rope laid out in the shape of an anchor?

Touring La Esmeralda was such a unique way to spend Saturday afternoon and I'm grateful we got the chance to do it this weekend.  The solid 3 days of conducted tours by the friendly officers of the unit is such a wonderful piece of goodwill towards Sydney and Australia as a whole.

But it was hungry and thirsty work playing as hard as we did on the ship.

First stop after disembarking was a bit of art, a Smartie cookie and a chocolate milk shake at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  Have you ever seen a pair of nearly four year olds dance to Up Town Funk with all of Bruno Mars' moves as they had their afternoon tea?  I have and it's priceless.

There was just a little more walking through the courtyard of the Sydney Hospital before we headed home via a train station or two and Woolies for dinner.

Preschooler SSG  literally had dinner at Woolies thanks to this fine piece of work from the sausage sizzle out the front of fruit and veg.

While I paced myself and brought home some Dr Oetker's Hawaiian to which I added some basil from the garden and a few other things.

The household slept early and soundly after dinner Saturday night.

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